More than 100 alumni from U.S. Exchange Programs shared their experiences during the Fifth Annual Lao American Alumni Overseas Student Club (LAO-SC) networking event at the Lao Plaza Hotel in Vientiane on June 20, 2015. The theme of the event was “Connecting and Sharing.”
Mr. Paul Mayer, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States of America to Lao PDR praised the LAO-SC for successfully organizing the networking session. In his opening remarks, Mr. Mayer affirmed, “On behalf of the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, as well as the U.S. Government, I am delighted to attend this event and to witness continued efforts of the U.S. alumni to stay in touch with one another and to find way to give back to the society.”
On behalf of the LAO-SC, Mr. Phongsavanh Phomkong, acting President, thanked the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane for its invaluable support and guidance. He also urged all members of LAO-SC to collaborate and contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of Lao PDR, remarking, “Our alumni group has a great potential to make significant collective contributions to the Lao society on top of our usual contribution as an individuals. However, this would remain as just potential, until we do something together.”
This year, the LAO-SC’s project, Vientiane Education Fair, was one of the 48 winning teams selected from 800 proposals submitted worldwide to compete in the U.S. Department of State’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund. The Fair aims to unlock students’ potential by providing information on each major available in Laos and ASEAN—creating the first inclusive platform to connect students, parents, educational institutions, and scholarship providers. During the networking event, LAO-SC also raised funds from alumni and made a donation to the Vientiane Rescue Team to support their critical emergency health services.
Today, more than 400 alumni have returned from the U.S. after completing their U.S. Government-sponsored programs. Many of these alumni went to the U.S. under such prestigious programs including Humphrey, Fulbright, UGRAD, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Program, and other professional exchange programs.
More information about opportunities to participate in the U.S. Exchange Programs can be found at: http://laos.usembassy.gov/scholarshipsandexchanges.html.